HC Deb 29 June 1915 vol 72 cc1780-2

Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 3rd February, proposed the Question, "That this House do now adjourn."


I want to refer to an incident which occurred today at Question Time. I think you, Sir, have already expressed your opinion that I did not show any discourtesy to you personally, but in case some hon. Members might retain that impression, I should like to say here that if there was anything that happened which might have indicated any such sentiment on my part, I should be very sorry indeed. I might perhaps say the reason why the question arose at all. There were, only forty-two questions on the Paper, and I thought that as so many other persons had been permitted to ask supplementary questions it was particularly hard that I should not be allowed to ask mine. I am sure you were quite right in your decision, but nevertheless I should like the House to understand that that was really the position I was in. I imagined that the time was up till ten minutes to four and that there was no special urgency and no particular reason why this question should not be asked. The gesture to which you took exception was really not meant to be a dominating gesture of any sort. It was one of appeal—deprecatory: "Allow me to make my poor little question clear." But afterwards when the question arose and I was allowed to put it after Question Time, it will be in the knowledge of the House that the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. T. M. Healy) came in and not understanding at all what had occurred made a remark which seemed to infer that I was bringing some accusation or saying something detrimental to the reputation of Field-Marshal French. I saw the hon. and learned Gentleman in the Library and explained that I meant to refer to this matter on the Adjournment of the House. After a few moments' conversation with him he told me that if he had been in the House at the beginning of questions he would never have thought of making the remark he did. Then we discovered, to our mutual pleasure and admiration, that if there was one person we both admired, perhaps more than anyone else at the moment, it was Field-Marshal Sir John French. Neither of us could express greater admiration than the other. Therefore, the hon. and learned Member for Cork advised me to go ahead now and he said he should not feel it necessary to come here. I should be very sorry indeed, both now and at any future time, if it could be supposed that I should urge any point with discourtesy to Mr. Speaker. I admit at once that there may be occasions on which there may be differences of opinion, and if I held the opinion that the prestige or rights of a private Member were being in any way infringed, I should resist it with the greatest determination and persistence, but at the same time I should do it with the utmost courtesy. That is all I wish to say on this subject at the present time.


I should like to say that I never for a moment thought that the hon. Gentleman desired to show me any discourtesy at all—not for a moment. I hope that I said nothing and that I did nothing which might convey that idea.

Question put, and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at Three minutes before Eleven o'clock.